Launching a business takes a leap of faith. But don’t leap without a parachute!
The expression “Launching a business” implies that it takes a certain amount of courage to become an entrepreneur and start your own business. As with any project, though, preparation is essential to anticipate obstacles and ensure a successful leap.
Before you get started, here are the key elements to cover:
- Draft a business plan
You know you want to start a business. But do you know where you want to go and how to get there? The business plan is a roadmap that outlines your product and service offering, organizational structure and financial forecasts as well as the marketing plan you will implement to achieve your sales objectives.
- Surround yourself with the right people
Successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they’re surrounded by the right people. As soon as you create your company, be sure to set up a network of professionals: mentors, financial advisors, accountants, tax specialists, lawyers, notaries, marketing experts and trainers. In addition to offering useful advice, these professionals have skills that complement yours and will act as a safety net.
- Determine the legal status of the business
Each company must choose a legal status according to its specific growth objectives. Keep in mind the impact this choice will have on your tax obligations.
Below is a list of the various legal statuses that can be used when starting a business:
- Sole proprietorship (or self-employed)
- General partnership
- Limited partnership
- Joint stock company incorporated in Quebec (or company)
- Business corporation incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act (or company)
- Non-profit organization
- Companies not incorporated in Quebec
For more details, visit the Entreprises Québec site. (French only)
- Get financing
In a recent survey, 58.1% of new entrepreneurs identified financing as an obstacle.1 Where should you start? First, define your short-, medium- and long-term financing needs and how you will use the financing obtained. Then, determine the type of financing you need. In addition to financial institutions, you can obtain financing from certain start-up facilitation organizations, business incubators and accelerators, as well as government development funds.
1Réseau M’s Indice entrepreneurial québécois 2016.
- Cope with fluctuating income
During the start-up phase, your business may not produce stable income. Even if you follow billing best practices, you won’t always control cash inflows. No worries! To get through tough times, set up a reserve fund, monitor your budget rigorously and postpone major expenses until later.
- Protect yourself
To avoid putting yourself in a precarious situation, make sure you’re well protected. Consult your financial advisor to secure insurance coverage that will meet your needs and those of your business, such as life, disability, health, loan and line of credit insurance.
- Think ahead
Consider and prepare your company’s future. For the start, retirement, succession and succession planning should be an integral part of your business plan. The more you have a long-term strategic vision for your business, the better the chances of minimizing potential impacts should you encounter obstacles.
May your launch go well, and your business be a great success!
Sources: Actualis Newsletter, 10 tasks for future entrepreneurs, 2016, SFL Partner of Desjardins Financial Security; Entreprises Québec; Revenu Québec; Indice entrepreneurial of the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship.